Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Nicole: Part 1 - Healthier, Happier, More Confident

Think back to Friday, July 5th, at 5:30 a.m.  You were probably sleeping, right?  It was the morning after Independence Day; a day full of family fun in the hot sun, food and fireworks, and I was awake at 5:30 a.m. in my small Central Washington hometown, and on my way to work up a sweat in "Nicole's Gym". 

I met Nicole in the summer before 5th grade when her family moved into the house two houses down from ours.  We became inseparable and I have so many silly memories with Nicole; we were experts in the art of making fools of ourselves and laughing until we cried and our stomach muscles hurt (and there is video out there to prove it)!  On July 5th, our muscles hurt in another way as we lunged, mountain-climbed, and kettlebelled up a storm.   Nicole is the Momster of the Month because of her hard work and dedication to lose weight and focus on her health. 
To date, Nicole has lost a total of 63 pounds and has gone from a size 18 to a size 8.  I've been following her transformation, and am excited to share her story with you!
Nicole is the oldest of seven children, and grew up in a very fit family that was always involved in athletics.  She says she always felt like the "odd one" as she has always been the "big girl" and the tallest in her class.  She has always been self conscious and unhappy with her body.  The decision to make lifestyle changes came when she got married, had three kids, and was about to turn 30.  Her parents and all of her brothers and sisters, with whom she was very close, all moved away.  Also, her husband became extremely busy with their trucking business and building their new home.  All of these factors made Nicole very isolated at home with her three kids. 
Nicole honestly and boldly shares that she was unhappy when she looked in the mirror, felt uncomfortable in her own skin, felt slow, and unhappy.  She hated getting dressed in the morning, hated shopping for new clothes and knew it was time for a change.
"I knew I had to do it for me.  Not for my family, not for my parents, not for my husband, not even for my kids...FOR ME!  I had never started something new and difficult and stuck it out to completion.  I always quit when it got hard...and I knew this was not going to be easy.  So I set my mind and decided and committed to myself that I was not going to quit or give up!  Another thing I knew would be a challenge was being around other people who weren't on a journey of weight loss.  I needed to be strong and be willing to stand alone and not be persuaded to cheat."
In the past, Nicole had tried just about every diet that exists..."Atkins protein diet, military 3-day, fruit and veggies diet, juicing, fasting, etc..."  She always ended up giving up with these attempts to lose weight, so she knew she had to do something realistic.  "If I deprived myself of any of the food groups, I would be frustrated and want them even more."  So she decided she would count calories, knowing that in order to lose weight, she'd have to burn more calories than she consumed.  She eliminated all sweets and junk food, but she allowed herself one carb a day, and one treat meal and one treat dessert a week.  Nicole says "I literally went through our cupboards and fridge and threw out all the chips, cookies, white bread, sugary cereal, candy, ice cream, pop, etc...I filled it with wheat bread and pasta, every vegetable I could find, every fruit that the grocery store offered and lean meats.  We were only drinking water, water and more water!" 
It was actually very difficult for her family to adapt to this change in their wife and mommy.  Nicole would make her youngest child's naptime her workout time, which was normally house-cleaning time.  "Sometimes the laundry didn't get done that day.  Sometimes I wasn't able to make lunch for my husband.  Sometimes my kids had to watch one more tv show to keep them busy."  Some things had to give, in order for Nicole to make this a priority. 
As Nicole started losing weight she became interested in lifting weights in order to build muscle and tone because this journey wasn't just about losing fat, and she also knew that she would eventually plateau by doing cardio alone.  That's when she discovered kettlebells
"I bought a 10-pound bell and it came with a DVD.  I would do that DVD three times a week and fell in love with how my body was toning and becoming stronger, and how every single time I could feel the changes and soreness.  I began researching [kettlebells] and bought more DVDs and got on Youtube and did every workout I could find."
There was no kettlebell class offered in her small community, so Nicole started her own class!  Her class began with 6 ladies, and within 14-months she had her largest class of 25 ladies.  Although the class size and group of women varies each month, the ladies in her class all become friends. 
"We support each other, we encourage each other, we push and challenge each other.  It is a chance for women to come together and get healthier, happier, more confident, and stronger.  It's a small chunk of time in our day where we can pour back into ourselves and do something for US!  The class has evolved into a sort of bootcamp.  We do a lot of weights and strength training and kettlebell."
If you live in the Othello area and are interested in checking out Nicole's class, here is what you need to know:
- Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
- 5:45am - 6:45 am
- at Dance Time Studio on 1st Street
- $28 a month. 
- Nicole would love to have you!!

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